The heartbreak that follows after a breakup can turn a person into a devastated shell of his/her former self, withering away from the inside while trying to stay strong.
Most of the time, people are driven to do something drastic in the hopes of trying to get over a breakup or trying to win back their ex. Either are not so easy to achieve. Think of it this way: the biggest mistake they make could turn a breakup into a festering wound.
So, what possible mistake could a person do to make his or her breakup even worse?
People come to my office for their breakup hangovers, but no story touched me as much as that of Rose. Rose was a patient of mine six years ago, who entered my office with tears in her eyes.
Within a span of two months, I had to walk her through intensive therapy and counselling sessions because she was utterly devastated. Apart from the breakup, she had gone into a self-destructive cycle which had amplified all the negative emotions she experienced after the breakup.
What was the biggest mistake?
Her ex-fiance of three years broke up with her a month before they were supposed to get married. Devastated and feeling empty, Rose did everything she could to turn her life around. Rather than focusing on recovery, Rose strayed to the path of dating for the sake of distraction. In a span of one year and prior to her entering my office, she had five flings – all ending up in disaster.
In layman’s terms, this is called REBOUNDING. Why was it a big mistake?
Rose, already undergoing a bout with problems of low self-esteem and self-confidence, wanted to prove to people that she was still worth connecting with. Through her five almost-relationships that failed badly, she had realized that she was the opposite of what she wanted to achieve. This resulted in Rose going through depression and low self-esteem.
This is a common problem faced by a lot of people undergoing a tough and difficult breakup.
What we did
When I got to the bottom of her problem, I had Rose focus on the things that made her do the things she did and inadvertently focus them onto something else – self-realization. Within two months, we made a breakthrough and we were able to make a list of something that helped her recover.
Your imperfections help you connect with other people – I believe strongly in the phrase “You complete me”, as muttered by the lovable Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Our closest friendships, our ties with our family, and even our romantic partners rely on the premise of completing one another. Your flaws and imperfections reflect unconditional love by your friends, family, and partner when they are accepted. Because we can show off who we are and who we are not, we are able to create a safe and deep connection towards that person.
According to psychologist Dr. Sue Johnson, “In insecure relationships, we disguise our vulnerabilities so our partner never really sees us.”
Humans need, but we also need to feel needed
We all have needs and we like to feel needed. Rose sought out a partner that she thought would need her, and thus, when discovering that they didn’t, she felt the lack of intimacy and security. This affected her in more ways than one.
When we are true to ourselves, we fully experience the moment
Rose was too outwardly focused on healing that she never found it in herself to heal from within. She was too focused on how she wanted to be perceived by others, that she was not able to live mindfully in the present – where the joy of life happens. Rose, like most of us, tried to keep herself busy by participating in mundane activities that take away the excitement of the moment.
Rose’s journey to recovery and self-realization led her to the arms of another man, who had given her what she needed and wanted. I recently attended their wedding no more than six months ago and it was only then that I realized that even though Rose made the biggest make most people make after a bad relationship, she managed to turn her negative experiences into stepping stones that led her to a life of complete romantic satisfaction and happiness.